We can’t wait: Administration announces new steps to fight Alzheimer’s disease tells that 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, that number could double. To counter this looming crisis, the government is identifying $130M in additional funding for 2012 and 2013 for research on the disease.
Bexarotene is a skin cancer medicine sometimes also prescribed for lung cancer, breast cancer, and Kaposi's sarcoma.
New Attack on Alzheimer's tells that researchers have discovered that bexarotene has the ability to melt away the protein and tangles for mice with Alzheimer's symptoms.
It may seem strange that a skin cancer drug would be effective in melting protein, but similar to fighting fire with fire, a protein named ApoE (Apolipoprotein E) has a special property of dissolving amyloid-beta proteins, correlated with Alzheimer's disease. Coincidentally, bexarotene has the ability to switch on the production of ApoE.
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have shown startling cognitive improvements in mice with amyloid protein plaque. Prior to the treatment, they were completely unable to create a nest. After treatment with bexarotene, they regain their natural ability to make a nest.
The Wall Street Journal reports that bexarotene is marketed under the trade name of Targretin by Japan's Eisai Company. Here is the good news - patents begin to expire on the drug this year.
Case Western research doctors hope to begin human trials in only a few weeks.